Rep. Matt Gaetz is arguably fighting harder than any Republican on Capitol Hill to keep Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the party’s nominal leader, from succeeding Nancy Pelosi as U.S. House speaker.
Gaetz’s rebellion against McCarthy has put him at odds with his biggest political influence, former President Donald Trump.
Trump has endorsed McCarthy for the top job in the House.
He reiterated that support on Wednesday on his social media platform Truth Social.
“Some really good conversations [with McCarthy] took place last night, and it’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN, CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY, & WATCH CRAZY NANCY PELOSI FLY BACK HOME TO A VERY BROKEN CALIFORNIA, THE ONLY SPEAKER IN U.S. HISTORY TO HAVE LOST THE ‘HOUSE’ TWICE!” Trump argued.
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“REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT. IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, YOU DESERVE IT. Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!”
Gaetz and the rest of the 19 rebels were unmoved. In fact, McCarthy lost ground after Trump’s comment, as Indiana GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz switched from backing McCarthy to voting “present.”
The Fort Walton Beach Republican also responded on Wednesday, telling Fox News that Trump’s weighing in was “sad.”
“This changes neither my view of McCarthy, nor Trump, nor my vote,” he added.
Gaetz also repeated his comment on Twitter later Wednesday.
“Supporting McCarthy is the worst Human Resources decision President Trump has ever made,” he argued. “Sad!”
Gaetz has endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio for speaker.